Tom Jackobs is a master sales and public speaking Guru who has been an entrepreneur for 30 years. He joins the podcast today to share his stories of starting his own DJ business at 16 years old, before buying a gym in Houston, and then selling it. 

Tom was failing in the business because he couldn't sell, but after hiring a business coach to help him navigate the small business world, he learned how to sell and had a repeatable process of selling. Tom learned the art of storytelling, and he shares his tips with us. The art of storytelling rocketed Tom into a successful sales career. You will love hearing his advice today.

Talking Points:

{01:30} Deciding to become an entrepreneur.

{06:00} Starting a gym, and the journey of entrepreneurial dreams.

{12:00} The expanding mindset

{15:35} Getting over the hurdle so you can exit your business and sell it

{18:50} The Role of the personal story in Sales

{20:10} Relating your personal story to your business.

{21:25} How to write your story.

{27:00} The three versions of the story

{31:30} Starting a meeting and prepping the audience for the story.

{35:00} Handling the “I’m not sure when” Response.

{37:00} Ending the call.

Resources and Links:

Connect with Tom Finn

Welcome to the Talent Empowerment Podcast, where we support business education through the stories of great humans. Let's borrow their vision, their tools, and their tactics to lift your purpose and find happiness within your organization, your teams, and your community. 

I'm your host. The real Tom Finn. And on the show today, we have a master sales and public speaking Guru, his name Tom Jackobs. Tom, welcome to the show, my friend. 

Hey, thanks for having me, Tom, at the Tom show.

The Tom and Tom show, yes, we will try not to do that too often during our discussion today, but if you don't know Tom Jacobs, let me take just a moment to introduce you to him. He's known as the impact pilot for helping business owners sell their services better through public speaking, training, and a unique sales process that incorporates questions that sell and quite frankly stories that sell. 

So, we're going to get under the hood on how to incorporate questions, how to sell, how to sell with stories and you're going to ask yourself, well, what's he been doing? Well over the last 30 years, he's been an entrepreneur, owned a dozen businesses, had exited from business, and his biggest realization in business is that sales are a process.

We're going to get into all things sales and the sales process. But let's just back up. Tell me a little bit about the time. You decided to become an entrepreneur. 

Very good question. And I think it was when I was 15 or 16 years old, and I was apprenticing at a DJ's business. Well, one DJ and I mean weddings and homecomings, bar mitzvahs, and all sorts of fun. And then I didn't like him very much, so I decided to go out on my own and start my own DJ business and string quartet. When I was 16 years old and that's when I first realized what direct response marketing was as well. I'll tell you a quick story here. 

I would go through the Sunday paper when they had a paper. And I would go. Through the wedding announcements, and the engagement announcements. I would look up the ride and so I'd find the bride's name. I'd go to this thing called the White Pages.

I remember, yeah.

A big book in which they gave all the phone numbers, addresses, and names of everybody in the town, can you imagine doing it now! And so I would go, and I'd find the person's address, and I would. Send her a. Letter saying hey. I got this and congratulations on being married. I got this offer for you. You could do a string quartet. We can DJ and that kind of took me through high school and college. 

So, you were a DJ on the ones and twos. I mean, this is like. Before the Mac computer was DJ's, you know, favorite instrument. What? What were you using?

Yes, I was using Pioneer turntables, 2 turntables, and a mic. I learned to rap like never mind. I can't rap. 

You turned the tables on the microphones that run DMC. 

It is. Yeah. Nice, right? Yeah, it was ones and twos on vinyl. I had to carry vinyl with me. I'm so jealous of all the DJs now they just roll up with a flash drive. 

Yeah. Pull up a flash drive on your Apple and you're ready to rock'n'roll. OK, so we started. We started with some direct marketing. And we figured out how to build a market by selling through a simple letter to the bride and just saying, hey, I can help, which at that time was probably super helpful because the Internet didn't exist. 

So, for them to get a phone number and a guy. Was pretty helpful. So what? Happened at that business. At the end of high school.

So, I went on to college. And was doing that during college as well. So that helped me kind of pay for college a little bit and then it just kind of fizzled out because I was in a different city and, you know, schoolwork and all that. 

And then finally I got a degree in theater management which was probably a mistake, but the first job offer that I had out of college was for 15,000 a year as a full-time box-office manager and off-Loop theater in Chicago. 

Wow, 

I have two really bad habits that need to be maintained and that's eating and living inside. And at $15,000 a year in Chicago, downtown Chicago. That's difficult to do. 

I'm not sure. You can even get a room for 15 grand a year in Chicago, which is a great city, shout out to all my friends in Chicago, love Chicago. But you have to have a little bit of coin to be able to live there. So, did you take the job at 15 grand a year? 

No, no. I ditched my degree and went to work for oil and gas of all things and did inventory management for 12 years in logistics. 

Yeah. Well, look. There's some coin in oil and gas. So says everybody in oil and gas. Well, I think that's great. So, you, you got your degree in something irrelevant. I'm not going to go into this whole discussion about college education because I think it's going to take us off track. And I want to get to sales process items, but before we get to the sales process and selling and. How to tell your story? 

I want to get to Your business in Houston. You opened and had a gym and told us the story about gaining ownership of the gym. Walk us through what happened in your sort of entrepreneurial journey that started the change, and then my goodness exited, which is sort of the entrepreneurial dream. 

Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, even while I was working in corporate America, I still had side hustles. So, the side hustles were worth it. But I always had that net that the safety net of the corporate job that kept me from really taking some risks in starting a business and owning a Business and ultimately you know working, you know, 12 hours a day in the corporate environment, I got overweight, got unhealthy, and at 30 years old, my doctor said I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and if I continued down the route that I was going, I would be lucky to see 40. 

And he said, well, you have a choice. You can take these pills. I recommend that you do. Or you could do this thing called diet and exercise, but nobody does that. So, let's get You on the pills. And I'm stubborn. I like challenges. So, I was like, oh, what's this thing that nobody does? I think I'll do that diet and exercise. 

So, I found a program. It was called Body for Life in like 2000 and 2001 and they were offering $100,000. The best body transformation in 12 weeks, so I entered contest 12. Weeks later, I lost 40 pounds of fat and gained £10 of Muscle the before and after pictures had the tear-stained letter that I wrote to the folks who sent it away. They sent me back an envelope and inside the envelope was an extra-large T-shirt and congratulations on finishing. I didn't win. The 100,000 but I got an extra large. T-shirt, which was extra-large. I wear a medium now. So, I don't know what. 

It was a little bit at that point, right, because you had just lost the pounds. No, I get it. Yeah. Yeah, that's it. That's a tough look for a weight loss company. That sends you the wrong way. Like an oversized T-shirt. Hey, guys, it would have been great 12 weeks ago, but now I'm learning. 

Right. But through that process, I fell in love with fitness and that was when I got personally trained as a personal trainer. People always were. Asking like what are you taking? What are You doing? What’s your secret? And I figured well, I could make a business out of this. So, I started personally training people in the evening. Before work at lunchtime and just absolutely loved it. But the day job was kind of getting in the way of my passion, for helping people. 

And so finally I decided to quit my Day job. I found a studio that was for sale in Houston and so I dumped out my entire 401K. I borrowed money from the Bank of Mom and Dad. And opened up and I bought, bought the facility, and then quickly expanded it as well. Doubled the size of it because, you know, I knew a lot about running this small business and within the first six months I was just about broke.

Because I didn't know the fundamentals of running a small business, you have to wear tons of hats. I've been negotiating millions of dollars in rail freight for oil and gas companies for 12 years, but I didn't know the first thing about running a small business and so quickly failing. And I identified that the reason I was failing is that I couldn't sell. I couldn't close a door in that business. 

Once I hired a business coach to help me kind of have a second set of eyes looking at the business and help me navigate what a small business is like. But through that I started to do a lot more research on selling and what it takes to sell fitness specifically, but really, it's a personal service and when you're selling a personal service it you can't just rely on the program itself to sell itself, right? You have to ask questions and you have to tell stories. You have to convince that person that they need to make a change.

And once I learn the techniques of doing that. The whole business took off, you. Now the first year I. Did like 100,000 in revenue the second year was 400,000 in revenue in the second year running. A business. So, it was it, and it all came down to learning how to sell and having a repeatable process of selling. 

And we're going to get to that pretty shortly here, but I do want to sort of unpack a couple of those nuggets that you just shared, because for those entrepreneurs out there, a couple of things you said were super, super important. 

So, one of the first things that I heard was you bought an existing business and then you unload your 401K and entrepreneurs know this journey, but not everybody in corporate roles knows this journey, right? They're thinking no, no, I stack my 401K so that I can retire, and ultimately when I retire, that's when I'll be happy. 

So if you're in that mindset, that's a survivor mindset. And you're thinking, Oh my gosh, I'm. I'm 30. I'm 40. I'm 50, I'm 60. It doesn't matter how old you are. Are and you're just stacking 401K because one day you're going to be happy. Probably the wrong way to look at the world. You've got to find those great careers that you love now, because who knows how long we're going to be here, right? 

100% 

We never know. We got to find joy and happiness and love along the way. Because that's super important. All right, so enough of that. Let's go right to This idea that you expanded right away so as a business owner, we want to do bigger than the guy before us. We want to do more. We want to.

Ohh yeah, I got it. This let's blow that wall out and add some squat racks. OK, so what happened? What was the mindset? Where you were thinking. OK, I got to do something different. I got to expand, yeah.

So, the mindset was I got to have more things because that will attract more people. And so, I got more cardio equipment. I got Pilates machines. I built out a small aerobics studio where we could do yoga and step and combat and body pump and all the different Group X classes. 

And then you know, I had the regular training floor where I had an open gym membership for $30.00 a month and was doing personal training in that same space with the mindset that the more things that are happening, the busier we are, the more money I make. The sad truth was I was super busy 15 hours a day. But at the end of the month, I had no money. The money was coming in but going out just as fast. 

And that if I were to do it over again, I would focus on one, maybe two things, do those well go a mile deep, but an inch thin and then slowly expand out? Rather than going a mile wide and then just not doing everything very well. 

Yeah that I feel like that's going to be the quote. That's on all social media. I'm listening to you and I'm thinking. That is the advice. I mean, I don't know what's going to happen the rest of this show, but I got to tell you, folks, that's the advice that you need to take away from Tom Jacobs is do not go a mile wide and an inch thick. You've got to be focused. 

The problem is… here's where we trick ourselves, Tom, are we, we say well. I could do that. I'm good at that. I could add that service. I can add this service. I can add this product and oh my gosh, what if somebody wants it and I don't have it, and we trick ours? That never works. You got to go. As Tom just said, you've got to go deep and narrow. And that's the way you start yours. So, for those of you? 

Pro tip yeah, and in defining who your target audience is. And I have this conversation a lot with business owners and they're afraid to be in a niche and say I specialize in helping women 35 to 40 who are high achievers. They're at the top of their game. But they're just not happy with their health and fitness. That was my target audience, like a 35- to a 40-year-old woman who was an executive at a major corporation and just gave everything to everybody but not to herself. And these are the mind tricks that we play with ourselves. It's like. Well, what if a guy comes in and he's 25 years old and wants to train? I mean, I have to turn him away? No, you don't have to turn him away. It's just that you're targeting, and your marketing is so specific that other people are going to say wow. He must Be good with that. I wonder if you could help me too. And that's exactly what the conversation ends up being and you're adding more people to your group by being very specific and laser-focused on whom you can help. 

So once you defined your target market, what was it that got you over the hurdle so you were able to exit this business and sell it?

Yeah. So, it All came down to what is a sellable asset in terms of personal training or personal service? If I were the business, it would not be worth very much, because once you're removed then the business goes away. 

So, I spent it before I sold the business. I spent a good three years preparing the business for sale and part of that was taking me off the floor so actually, I did that in five years. The last five years I haven't trained a single soul in my fitness. 

So, I took myself off of training in doing and being in the business and rather worked on the business and worked on processes and procedures. And so when the new owners came aboard, I was like, here's your process book. And it was, you know, a three-inch thick binder. Is that every process about this business is in here and they're like, Oh, my gosh, it's all done for me. I don't have to do anything, it's in. The value goes way up in that business because then it's the process. It's not dependent on you knowing what's in somebody's head.

And for those of you that are trying to think through how you develop a process, what you do is you develop it through trial and error in a way. 

And Tom's idea of a notebook is a perfect visual because you can kind of think of the three-ring, notebook, and blank pages, and once you start to get a process, you just sit down and then you write the next one down. You scratch it out and you write the next one. Down and here's the problem, you don't write. The whole manual is on day one because you just don't know how things are going. Change right, Tom? 

100%.

You've got to do it over time and that's why it takes five years to write the process manually. 

Yeah, and that's exactly the process I went through. Tom too, which is hilarious. I had a blank binder at the front desk, and I told the entire staff if the thought in your head goes, Tom, how do I?... Then you need to put that into the book.

So anytime you start a sentence with Tom, how do I… and then we put that on the outside of the binder, then Tom, how do I question Mark, and then that way I knew what processes people needed to be able to do their job because they were asking me the question. And no employee should ever ask. You ask the question of how I do my job; they should know because they have process procedures. And all that is. 

Yeah, they've been trained appropriately along the way and continue to be trained and developed and all of those good things. So, let's switch gears from you as the entrepreneur to somebody who has spent 30 years trying to figure out how to build effective sales processes from days on the ones and twos as a local DJ to today, so help me understand this idea of a personal story. What is this first step? What's a personal story? 

So, a personal story is a story that has happened to you that you use to help relate to your prospects, and that's whether you're doing one-on-one sales conversations or you're doing a presentation to 100 or 1000 people. Having that personal story Creates a connection with your audience again, whether that's one person or 1000 people, because now they get to know who you are, and what drives you, and typically that story has to do with your “Why”. Why are you in the business that you're in? Why are you selling the products that you're selling or as a service that you're selling? 

And when people understand your why and Simon Sinek says this brilliantly, much better than I can. But they will buy your “why” a lot more than they'll buy the “How” or “what” Whatever you do or how you do it, nobody cares. But really, they want to know that you care about them and you're going to help them get the result that they want. Not the result that you want, but the result that they want. 

Yeah, big distinction. The result is that they want and understand the why. OK, so a personal story is all about my personal “why”. But how does that relate to my business? Because this is where it gets a little tricky for people. 

It does, and there's always a nice... It's usually a pretty easy bridge to make between the story and the business and why you're telling that story. It's not, and you're not telling the story in just a way to either brag about what your achievements are or to get sympathy for a tragedy. That you went through. So, you're telling that story in a way that the audience can relate to it, so you're bringing that audience into the story with you. They see you as the hero in that story, but then they can see themselves as the hero in that story, and you as the guide that takes them along the journey to the result that they ultimately want. 

Well, how does somebody go about writing this vision and starting this story? Because I think I get it conceptually and I think most of our listeners would get it conceptually, but the hard work is transferring from the brain to the hand. 

So, when we go from brain to hand, there's a little bit of a disconnect at times. So how do I actually? Do I get a piece of paper out and a pen and just start jotting my notes down, how do I do this?

So, the first step is 1 identifying what that story is. And so, the first thing that I always have people do is take a story inventory of their life. So, events that have happened to them. Or for them. And what That just all they need to do is just write down what the event is. Maybe just a little synopsis of it. And they could be tragedies. They could be comedies; they could be ROM Coms. It could be all sorts of different stories that you have in your life. Don't always think that they have to be the near-Death experience story, or you know you want to win the lottery for a billion dollars. 

But it just needs to be a story of something that's happened to you in your life, and then you list out all those different stories, and then what I typically have people do is go through and relive that moment that they were in, and I have them do that in front of me, whether it's on the Zoom color or in person. And I look for their reactions. And typically, when they find a story that is emotionally charged, then that's the story that we want to dive into. 

So, I'm going to see them maybe fidget in their seats a little bit and rearrange things. Or their heartbeat. My heartbeat goes up. They start to breathe a little bit differently. Their palms are sweaty, and I ask them, like, are there stories where you felt a physical reaction as you were thinking about it? Yeah, this one, this one. This one is great, which one was it? More like that one was great. That's the one we're doing. Oh, no, I. Can't tell that story is usually the reaction why not…Don’t people deserve to know how you overcame that? How are you? Now comedy, you know, frames your life going forward. Well, yeah, maybe but so That's the first step, and then the second is just. Just write it out freehand like what? What did you feel like? What was going on? 

And then we Just go through a revision process of adding what I call color and texture to the story. So all those little different details that are in the story and I always like to say you know and I'll ask you, Thomas. You know, yesterday I was in the car and went. To the store. Right. So, I say I was in a car. I went to the store. What Car are you thinking of, Tom?

I'm thinking of a blue 1980. 84-door Volvo.

OK, but that wasn't the car that I was in. So, it was blue. But it was a 1989 BMW 325. I had rust all over it. So, in that ask and I use that example because if you just say I was in a car, you're not bringing the audience in. So, the color and texture are…. I was in my 1989 blue BMW that's seen better days and now you're with me on that journey in this story. So, we always want to bring in those nice rich details. So that people are in the story with you.

OK, so back up for a second because I love this process, so I'm writing down the stories of my life. Good, bad, indifferent. We find the one that I get emotionally charged around, but if you were to ask me to do that and you gave me, oh, I don't know, 90 minutes or so. I'd probably have... Oh gosh, a few pages of stories for you. I mean, let's just ballpark it. I'm going to make this up, but let's just say 20. 

OK, I got 20 different major life events. Been through. How do I? Now I know it's the emotional charge, but how do I know which one to pick? And can you pick three? Is it four stories? Is it 5? Is it 1? How do you do that part?

You know, generally, even with a list of 20. You're going to find up to probably 3 or 4 that are going to have the most emotionally charged to you; then we'll go through those stories, and a lot of times we'll draft out all three of those or all four of them. And then see which fits into the presentation that you're ultimately going to be giving. 

So, whether that's a sales presentation or a talk. And with that information. Now we can figure out which one is the most relevant for your audience, for the product that you're selling, or for the result that you want from either the one-on-one interaction or from the speech that you might give. 

So, let's target this around a sales presentation because a lot of people do them. And Tom, in our sales presentation, we're going to be doing it over Zoom, because we're in a digital world and we all connect through digital mediums now.  So, we're delivering to an audience a buyer. That buyer is a business buyer. 

So, in a business-to-business interaction, they're buying through Zoom. We haven't met in person yet. How do I bridge this gap again between my story that you just took me through and actually selling something? Or maybe, said differently, how do I not make this sound like this is all about me and I love me some me right and I spend the 1st 15 minutes just standing there saying let me just tell you some more about me. 

So, one, it would never be 15 minutes, so. We generally developed 3 versions of the story: the elevator pitch or the elevator. And then maybe like a 5-minute and then a 15-minute version of it? And generally, in a sales presentation where it's one-on-one, you want to use that three to five-minute version of it and what you're accomplishing with that and it's not like you just start the conversation. Let me tell you more about me. It's like, you know that situation you're talking about reminds me of a similar situation that I went to. And then you go through what that situation was and then what you learn from it and say, you know, maybe you relate to this as well, in terms of the problem that you're having and how we can ultimately solve that, I've been where you're at. I know exactly what you're going through. 

Well, that's what makes all the sense in the world. I feel like this is a really nice playbook. 

So, you are OK, so we've got three different versions. We've got our elevator, we've got our 3:00 to 5:00, and then I'm going to call it our Ted talk, which is 15 minutes, right? 

So, for those of you that love the stage and want to be mic'd up. Your Ted talk is 15 minutes. OK, so we've got these three versions and then we use them in a repeatable way. Do we do this over and over and over and over again, right?

Absolutely, absolutely.

So, let's say I meet with somebody in this sales discussion. We go through the First discussion and there are some wonderful people on the other end. And I tell them mine. 3:00 to 5:00 and then they say, hold on. I need to get a couple of other people from our company to make a decision. And they come back on. I will tell the same story again. Or do I have to go to story B or C?

I would go to story B or C so as to keep everybody engaged in the story. I might reference that story, the original story just as a reference for the people that had heard that story previously. But I would… for new people coming in, I would tell a different story. Or focus on a customer story which is the other story that you need to have as well. Is a customer success story. You have your own personal story about why you're in the business. And then the second would be how you've helped people previously. 

OK. Is there a 3rd? 

No, just those two. 

Just those two so. A little bit about me and my personal story and then a couple of anecdotal stories about customers and how we've helped other people and we leave It at that. What do you say to those that are on the opposite view of this? Hey, looking at my products is Awesome. I'm awesome. I just show up and tell them everything is awesome. 

How's that working for you?

Well for some People with a gifted product might work, right? 

You know, there are products that sell themselves, but ultimately. To be at the whole other level it's understanding what the problem is of the prospect, so that's where the questioning comes in is very, very important. 

Is to ask the questions to identify what the problem is, and these questions aren't necessarily for you the salesperson. The questions are really for the prospect to hear themselves say I have a problem doing this. And once they've verbalized it, now they're in the mode of looking for a solution and your product service is that solution. 

So then when you go through the presentation of how you've helped other people and maybe a little bit about your why then you can say and we're going to solve all those problems that you have right now, by implementing this new product. 

So where do the questions come in? So, after we're back to the sales presentation, we're in a digital format. We're on Zoom. It's a business-to-business environment and we're trying to sell a product or service. 

So, when I start the discussion, it usually starts with. How are you doing? Where are you from? Where you are calling him from today and we get through some pleasantries. I love your background. Whatever it is, right? And then there's that moment where everybody pauses, and it’s gone time. 

So, at that point, do you take control and start to ask questions, or do you jump right into this is my personal story? How does somebody navigate those two things?

So first I would lay out the agenda, so I would tell them what to expect out of this call or out of this meeting. So first I'm going to ask you some questions about your business. I’d like to try to figure out if we can even help. If I determine that I can help you or we can help you, then I'm going to show you a little bit about our program and then at the end of the call, we can decide if we want to go forward or not. Sounds fair? 

So that's just laying out the agenda. And then I would go and take control by asking those questions because of the person who is asking the most questions. Is actually in control of the conversation. And I have a simple four-question framework and it's called. What? Why, what? Why? So those are the four questions. Why what? Why are you done? 

So, the first one is what? What are you wanting to accomplish? What are your goals? What are you wanting to accomplish? And really, you're driving towards. What's the problem? The second is why it is important to you. Why is that goal important to you for your company? And remember, even with B2B sales, you're someone to a person, it's person to person, and by understanding not only the driver of the person but the driver of the company as well. You're going to be much, much more successful because that person has a driver themselves. They want to keep their job; they want to get a promotion. They want to know, whatever... advance in their career. The companies might have a similar goal, but you have to sell to both of those goals, and you have to figure out what those goals are. 

And so that's why what? First, what, why, and what are the goals? Why are they? They are important to you. The third one is what have you done or what are you currently doing to try to hit that goal, and this is critical. Because now you're finding out how they failed in the past because clearly, they failed because they wouldn't be sitting in front of you if they were super successful and didn't have any prob. And then the last “why” is one of the most critical ones, I believe and that's why I save it to last is “Why is now the right time for you to change or for you to make a change or to invest in a different program?”. And that is to get rid of the oh, let me think. About it, but the objection that all salespeople, hey. Let me think about it. It will be, you just said that now is the right time because you're losing 5 grand a month in revenue and you only have like 3 more months to go before you go broke. So, is it a new thing or a later thing? Because to me it sounds like it's a new thing.

And that timing piece at the end of the four Questions I think is really important because they sort of tie a bow to the conversation. I tend to find when I talk to people about this that one can end up being a bit of a sticking point, though it sounds great in theory, but if somebody says. Well, I don't know.

What do you do with them? I don't know. I don't know about the timing. I don't know how to do that. I'm not sure you know, there are a lot of… At times there are a lot of people that are indecisive because they have a scarcity mentality, and they don't want to create change within their organization for fear of making a mistake. So how do you deal with that last question when you get it? The Umms and ahhs.

So, it's like that, that fear and that of that individual. And remember, you're selling to people not selling to the company. That person has a fear, and so you have to identify what that fear is and actually bring it out on the table. It's like, wow. You know Tom, it Sounds like you're a little fearful of making a decision. Can you tell me a little bit? More about that, what's driving that? Well, I made a bad decision and I'm on. Like probation, right? Now and you know something like that, it's like, oh, tell me. I'm really sorry to hear that but tell me about that decision and what went wrong so that we don't make that same mistake again because I'm in this with you together. Right. 

So, you, you're creating that same side of the table with them and helping them achieve their goal and that's? That's really what sales to me is all about. One finding that common ground and solving the problem together with your solution. 

And that's also a nice tie-in to the personal story because then you can go, and you know what happened after. You've asked some of those questions. And you can kind of weave in that story. It's like, Oh yeah, I totally. I understand that three years ago I was going through a similar situation that you are in and then you go into your three to five-minute story. 

OK, so why? What? Why? So, we do that twice. And then we've got enough information. To start to share a little bit about us and tie it into. What is wise? 

That's right. 

And then at that point, we'll be able to see the reactions and open up the dialogue. Hopefully, they'll have a little bit of a connection where they'll start to engage more in an open dialogue. And then ultimately, that's when you can share perhaps some customer stories or if they have a question about a product or I saw this on your website, can that help us then you sort of open up this sales dialogue, OK, all of that straightforward, beautiful playbook, how do you end the call? 

So typically, you want to make a decision on that call, so make it a one-call. That's the most efficient. And because you laid out the agenda, at the end of our discussion, I'll ask you to make a decision and you can even preface that with you. You can say yes or no. Either is OK, but I would like you to make it. A decision today is that OK? And you say that upfront. So then like you understand, if it's like, well, we can't make a decision today. 

So then you know. Well, OK, there's no decision made. Let's figure out what the next step is in the sales process for this organization. And now you already are primed to kind of tee up that next. I always lean out that agenda, that there should be a decision made in the end. So that there's no ambiguity, then there's no follow-up. It's just like you know, Tom, I really like you, but I don't think this is the right fit for us. And then you can do some objection handling, if necessary, but you are going to get a decision when you lay it out like that. 

What are the risks or the things that you hear the most from others, Tom, when they go through this?

The sales presentation or the story part? 

I think this. Tying the story into a sales presentation. Because that's really where the rubber meets the road, it's combining all of this into some sort of active business discussion. 

So, a lot of people feel that well, this is a business discussion. So, I shouldn't bring in personal, personal stuff, whether that's a comedy or a tragedy. But again, we're selling to people and people will buy from other people. 

So, it's important to create a connection and have them understand why you do what you do. And so that's to get rid of any fear that it's, you know, obviously, you don't want to tell an inappropriate story that's, you know, some common sense. And I know common sense isn't all that common, but... You know, just read your audience, and know what version of the story that is or which story to use with that audience. 

So, you know it's always going to be appropriate for the audience, so. With the upside of creating a stronger connection with that with the client. And you know I was when I was in corporate, I was buying freight from railroad companies and they spent so much money on relationship building like I was, you know, dinner on you know. Vintage rail cars that would go down the coast of California. Nothing about freight or anything like that, but they just wanted to give us an experience and they would tell stories about, you know, Grandpa, who was a foreman at Union Pacific, and why they just love the railroad.

It's like. This is really, you know, thinking back to it now, I didn't know what was going on then, but now it's like after I've been doing the storytelling and the sales, I'm like that was brilliant. That was like classic storytelling within a sales environment. To get your clients to know, like and trust. You and it worked. 

And it worked and I imagine. That this process works also for many people out there. Well, look, Tom, I've got about 14 other questions, but we are absolutely smacking dab out of time. So, if you want to learn more from Mr. Tom Jacobs and you want to learn how to tell your own story, find your own purpose, build your own vision, and create this magic with others, whether it's in business to business. Business, the consumer. You just want to be a better friend. You want to have more fun at dinner parties. All of those things can come into play when you start telling your own story. The way that you want to frame that story and I think it's an absolute must-have for anybody in the modern day is to understand, know and be able to deliver your story with precision. This has been a bit of a master class on how to get this done, so I thank you very much for joining the show, Tom.

Absolutely no worries. 

Well, look, if you want to find Tom, you're going to have to go find him on the Internet. Tom, where are we? Where do we find you? Track you down and otherwise stalk you when we need help with sales. 

The best place is my website. It's connected to all socials as well, so it's Tomjackobs.com. Looks like Jacobs but spelled or pronounced Jackobs. 

Yeah, we'll, uh, we'll get that in the show note. So, if you're driving, please keep your eyes on the road and your hands and we will get that in the show notes. And you can just click a button and be right with Tom on his website. 

And Tom, thank you so much for joining the Talent Empowerment podcast. This show has been absolutely front, center and sales are very prescriptive and very helpful. And thank you for empowering our audience with all this knowledge.

You're very welcome. Thanks for having me.

OK, my friends, thank you for joining the Talent Empowerment podcast. I hope you transform your business by placing humans at the center, finding your own sales story, finding the right questions to ask, and innovating at scale. Let's get back to people and culture together. We'll see you in the next episode.

Tom Finn
Podcaster & Co-Founder

Tom Finn (he/him) is an InsurTech strategist, host of the Talent Empowerment podcast, and co-founder and CEO of an inclusive people development platform.

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